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Educational Choice

Families may choose to educate their children at home instead of sending them to a traditional public or nonpublic school; this is called homeschooling or private instruction. Families choose to homeschool for a variety of reasons, which is why there are several private instruction options in Iowa:

  • Competent Private Instruction (CPI) provided or supervised by a licensed practitioner (Option 1), which may include:
    • Enrollment in the resident district’s home school assistance program (HSAP; if offered),
    • Instruction by an appropriately licensed teacher that is privately retained (i.e., at their own expense) by the family, or
    • Instruction provided by an appropriately licensed parent, guardian, or custodian.
  • CPI supervised by a parent, guardian, or custodian (Option 2) without a current Iowa teaching license.
  • Independent Private Instruction (IPI).

For more information about your private instruction options, see the Private Instruction Handbook.

Note on Noncompliance With Private Instruction Laws: A parent, guardian, or custodian that does not comply with CPI or IPI laws is subject to truancy prosecution. The Iowa Supreme Court has upheld truancy convictions for both failing to file Form A at all (State v. Skeel, 486 N.W. 2d 43 (Iowa 1992)) and not filling it in fully or accurately (State v. Rivera, 497 N.W. 2d 878 (Iowa 1993)). However, it is important to note that options are now available that do not require the filing of Form A.

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Competent Private Instruction

Competent Private Instruction (or CPI) means private instruction:

  • Provided on a daily basis for at least 148 days during a school year;
  • To be met by attendance for at least 37 days each school quarter;
  • Provided by or under the supervision of a licensed practitioner in the manner provided under Iowa Code 299A.2 (Option 1) or provided by a parent, guardian, or custodian under Iowa Code 299A.3 (Option 2); and
  • Which results in the student making adequate progress under Iowa Code 299A.1(2)“a”.

District Issuance of Diplomas: The decision to issue a diploma to a student receiving private instruction is up to the student’s resident district. The resident district is not compelled to issue a diploma, and the Iowa Department of Education cannot issue one. If a parent, guardian, or custodian desires a diploma for their child, they should contact their resident high school’s administrators during the child’s eighth grade year to coordinate these credits.

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Independent Private Instruction

Independent Private Instruction (or IPI) means private instruction that meets the following criteria:

  • Is not accredited;
  • Enrolls not more than four unrelated students;
  • Does not charge tuition, fees, or other remuneration for instruction;
  • Provides private or religious-based instruction as its primary purpose;
  • Provides enrolled students with instruction in mathematics, reading and language arts, science, and social studies;
  • Provides, upon written request from the superintendent of the school district in which the IPI is provided or from the director of the Department, a report identifying the primary instructor, location, name of the authority responsible for the IPI, and names of the students enrolled;
  • Is not a nonpublic school and does not provide CPI as defined in Iowa Code 299A.1 and Iowa Administrative Code 281-31; and
  • Is exempt from all state statutes and administrative rules applicable to a school, a school board, or a school district, except as otherwise provided in Iowa Code 299 (Compulsory education) and Iowa Code 299A (Private instruction).
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2021-2022 Private Instruction Handbook - Note: The Form A included in the handbook has been updated for the 2022-23 school year and is posted below. Provides parents, guardians, legal or actual custodians, and school districts with the most current information available regarding private instruction. The handbook includes both guidance (e.g., frequently asked questions, summary of responsibilities) and forms to aid families and school districts in understanding and implementing their related responsibilities.

Select Guidance Excerpts

  • Private Instruction Comparison Chart - Compares the three private instruction options available to families: CPI Option 1 (provided or supervised by a licensed practitioner), CPI Option 2 (provided by a parent, guardian, or custodian), and IPI.
  • CPI Timelines and Procedures - Provides important dates and deadlines for students under CPI Option 1 or CPI Option 2 with dual enrollment or optional reporting.
  • CPI Annual Evaluation Flowchart - Provides a visual of the three evaluation options available to CPI students to fulfill the initial baseline and annual evaluation requirements: standardized assessment, portfolio assessment or evaluation, or accredited correspondence school report card or transcript.
  • CPI Acceptable Tests for Baseline and Annual Assessment - Provides the list of Department-approved standardized assessments to fulfill the initial baseline and annual assessment requirements. If a parent, guardian, or custodian would like to request an alternate assessment, they must complete the request for consideration form.


Parent, Guardian, and Custodian Forms

School District Forms

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Other Guidance

Senior Year Plus and Dual Enrolled Students - Provides information about accessing Senior Year Plus programs for dually enrolled private instruction students.

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